Located in Durham, NC, Burt's Bees manufactures eco-friendly personal care products and would be a great place to work if you're environmentally conscious.

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It always seems like you never have Chapstik – er, lip balm – when you really need it. Even Napoleon Dynamite was plagued by that little tube’s ability to disappear from his pocket and end up sitting on his desk at home. Some will argue that they never use lip balm because it just makes the problem of chapped lips worse, but I know for a fact that those people give in as soon as their “lips hurt real bad.” As life saving as lip balm can be at the right time, you’d still never expect it to allow a guy who lived in a turkey coop to be the face of a billion dollar business. Yes, Burt’s Bees was sold last year to Clorox for just shy of a billion dollars.

From Rags to… Rags

Apparently the whole story is quite contentious, as Burt of Burt’s Bees was bought out for just a few hundred thousand dollars by his then lover and business partner. She eventually sold the business for a much larger sum. Burt now has about $4 million to his name, but still chooses to live in a turkey coop with no electricity or running water; however, he has expanded the coop. The whole story is worth a read, and can be found at the NY Times. So, how did this cottage enterprise in Maine turn into a billion dollar business located in Durham, NC? Organic and all-natural products got hot. People will pay more for their lip balm (or cream, or shampoo, or soap) if it’s produced in an environmentally sound way with ingredients that are organic or all-natural. This is what Burt’s Bees is all about, although it stands to be determined whether consumers will still trust the authenticity of the company, now that it’s owned and operated by a bleach company.

Organic Chemistry (Not the Kind That Breaks Pre-Meds)

Although most of the jobs at Burt’s Bees require a moderate amount of experience, there are a couple that might be good fits for a college chemist. Burt’s Bees is looking for an Industrial Chemist and a Junior Quality Control Chemist. The first position appears to be more entry-level than the second, but both are worth a look. Although our chemistry knowledge is limited, we can imagine that spending a few years as a chemist with an all-natural / organic products company will open the doors for many future opportunities. The market for such products is only going to grow, and having a background in working with natural ingredients seems be something that you’ll be able to leverage quite nicely down the road.

Burt’s Bees’ Careers page is really simple, and the job descriptions are really clear about what they’re looking for. We love that! We also like their Working at Burt’s Bees page, although they’ve overlooked the fact that they should probably link to it from the Careers page. We can’t speak to whether the culture at Burt’s has changed since the company was acquired, but we imagine that it’s in Clorox’s best interest to do whatever it takes to maintain the brand’s authenticity. That should start with treating their people the same way they were treated when it was just Burt’s Bees.

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Now where’s my lip balm…

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